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Michigan Tax Tribunal deals with appeal backlog


The Michigan Tax Tribunal is dealing with a backlog of about 41,000 property tax assessment appeals.

The Detroit News reports Thursday that pending cases represent billions of dollars in challenged assessments and in some cases date back years. They could result in local governments having to refund - with interest - millions of dollars in taxes they've gotten.

Kimbal Smith III took over as the tribunal's chairman in March. He says he's taking steps to improve the process and handle claims more quickly. Smith says he is spending an extra $450,000 for overtime, to hire seasonal help and to recruit, pay and train more hearing officers.

The newspaper says the number of appeals has increased each year since 2004 and has roughly doubled since 2008 amid the state's difficult economy.

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